Thursday, July 17, 2008

the stupidity of artists

I went to a chichi fundraising event yesterday with my old friend Ron.  For $50 a head, we got to stand in a crowded, noisy room with drinks, smoked salmon and fresh, raw oysters which smelled of the sea.  Somewhere behind the talking was music, played by three lively young East Coast men with fiddle, mandolin, guitars.  

Ron and I shouted at each other until our voices gave out.  "Are you going to blog about this?" he yelled, at one point, and I shouted back, "No! " but here I am.  I felt so sorry for those musicians, who were giving their utmost to a crowd of upscale Torontonians, not a single one of whom was paying the slightest attention, that I went over and stood in front of them smiling and tapping my toes.  After filling up on oysters, I came back to my post.  I had a job to do: toe-tapping, head nodding, listening.

There's an article in a recent New Yorker about John Keats the poet, whose poems were received with universal and often vicious scorn when they first came out.  He died of TB at a very young age, feeling that his life had been wasted.  Only after his death did the world come to know him as one of the greatest poets of the English language.  He kept writing because he had to write, just as those musicians played while no one listened.  There's always hope in an artist's heart that someone out there, somewhere, sometime, will pay attention.

A friend defined stupidity to me once as doing the same thing over and over with the same result, each time expecting the results to be different.  I am thankful for the stupidity of artists, who keep doing what they do whether anyone pays attention or not.  Otherwise we would not have "Ode to a Grecian Urn," and last night, my toes in their fancy high-heeled shoes would have remained untapped.


  1. What was the name of the group?

  2. Lynn, I'm ashamed to say I have no idea. Three nice guys from the Maritimes playing into a void, except for one old dame who hadn't even bothered to find out what the band was called.